When Brillz announced his Twonk Di Nation Tour, fans in the Seattle area rallied to sell it out. DMNW was given the opportunity to sit down with Brillz before his set at the Showbox Sodo to talk about the tour, the spirit of twonk, his online tutorials and unplugging, and even what being sober can mean from both the headliner and attendee sides.
Twonk(ing) Di Nation Tour
When you’re as loved and well-connected as Brillz, what else is there to do but drive around in a bus with your friends and play music? Brillz decided to take a cross country tour of around 45 shows with up-and-coming producers and producers that were his friends – producers he says he admires.
“Lots of producers and friends coming together and spreading the twonk vibes across the country.” Aside from being on tour with a bunch of friends, he said the best part was that the group was “really blessed and had a bunch of sold out shows” … and that includes Seattle!
If you ever get the opportunity to ask Brillz about twonk, be forewarned that he will probably make you define what you think it is before you get his answer. That’s the wonderful thing about twonk — it’s whatever you want it to be.
“The spirit of twonk is that there is no meaning of it. It’s something for everyone to make their own and vibe out however they want with it. We’re not about trying to tell the world ‘this is how things are.’ This is what we are. We’re always evolving and the relationship that you have with music and with art and your friends, it evolves. So twonk is just that, it’s a vibe. And everyone has their own vibe. We all twonk in our own way.”
Sharing Tips & EDM School
With the power of social media, we have more direct access to our favorite artists than ever. That’s how Brillz ended up creating a tutorial video, and beyond. “I kept getting hit up on Facebook, where people would ask how I made sounds and were asking for tips. People really responded to it, so I took it to the next level and made a video.” You can find his YouTube tutorial for Rvtchet Bitch on his channel.
On March 2 at Los Globos in LA, Brillz and Virtual Riot hosted an event called EDM School, where they opened up files from their old songs and built a track from scratch in front of a bunch of producers. A workshop like this not only helps demonstrate certain techniques but offers tips on production and making it in the EDM game.
Brillz is really just a guy who loves music, trying to help out the next generation of producers the best he can. Beyond his electronic talents, Brillz is also handy with traditional instruments, as demonstrated in the video below. We got to ask him about that, too.
The Value of Unplugging
Brillz told us he comes from a background of playing traditional instruments in bands, mostly “hybrid rock or a little bit of beats and electronic … drums were my main thing. And playing bass and obviously guitar and a little bit of keyboard.” He displays all these talents and more (more cowbell!) in his one-man-band cover of NRG. But why bother?
For Brillz it’s about reconnecting to “the human part of music … I felt like I wanted to reconnect with what it felt like to just play… I do it for fun, really.” Is it more than that, though?
“There is a commentary (one I don’t give two shits about) where other people are like ‘Oh producers and DJs aren’t musicians.’ So I just thought it would be an interesting ‘Fuck you’ to those people … It takes the same amount of skill, hard work, and talent to make a song that moves 1000 people or 10,000 people or 50,000 people [as it does] to rip a guitar solo. It takes the same amount of dedication and the same amount of skill, it’s just a different medium.”
We’re sure you’ve heard it a thousand times from your anti-EDM friends or your family members who just don’t get it: DJs and producers aren’t musicians. Wanna bet? The next time someone says that, consider showing them the NRG cover video.